Day At The Track

Real change under way at Woodbine

05:48 PM 28 Nov 2008 NZDT
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Ten 7/8's of a mile dashes are carded for Monday Dec 1st at Woodbine. The WEG circuit just isn't one to test the waters, it's either full speed ahead or throttled back to a stand still. In any case the entries sheet is posted and the 7/8's of mile speed races start in the first dash with 3yr old Ontario sired filly trotters. A short field of eight swing in behind the gate.

The only two races going a full mile distance are the final for Ontario Sired Autumn Series, 3 yr old trotting colts and a division of the Ontario Sired Autumn Series 2 yr old colt pacers, carded in the 4th and 5th races.

Last weeks OSAS 3yr old colt trotter, Striking Rich scores out of the two hole for Trevor Ritchie. The Striking Sahbra son won in 2:00/4 putting way Mr. Go and Pile Driver J T who have both mad it into the $47,500. Final. Southwind Rew also win last week. The Kadabra son starts from post position #3, Monday night.

In the 2yr old colt pacers OSAS division, Astreos has 3 sons entered to contest the one mile dash for the $10,000. purse check. They are Thornton Astreos from the inside 2 hole while Lakers Vett and Allamerican Extra line up from the outside 8 and 9 holes in the 10 horse dash.

Modern Art, Grinfromeartoear, Twin B Champ, Camotion, Western Terror, Apaches Fame, and Rambaran all have starters in the single division, so by the looks of it, the entire stallion roster in Ontario, is well represented in behind the gate. No breeder shall be left out of the cheering section.

This change in race distances at Woodbine has raised a lot of controversy on the WEG circuit and truthfully, I think WEG needs to do something. I find their races to short fielded and often the drivers make for a poor product. Heck it's the politest bunch of drivers I've ever seen compete at an extended meet, ever.

If they go a quarter in 25, 26, 27, 28, it doesn't matter ,they let the first horse to challenge for the lead go, whether it's at the quarter, going to the half, past the half, it just doesn't seem matter. None of the regulars seem to be willing to show authority and hang someone out to dry. The buddy, buddy system stinks for the gambler in the grandstand.The driver colony at Woodbine, think, letting a challenger go is good for the sport, when all it does is make for predictable, boring racing. Lets not forget, the drivers are the guys that are ultimately in charge of the outcome of the race as it's run. They really are the orchestrator, of the racing industry's future as an Entertainment Spot.

If WEG were to flow some of the regular drivers out the door, the racing theater at Woodbine would change in a hurray or how about limiting the amount of drives per week, per driver, at say 25 starts. Maybe that would shake things up a bit? I like my idea of double wagering and bigger fields and longer distance races. Put 20, $5000. claimers in a race and race them for 2 and 7/8's miles, send them past the grandstand four times and put on a show for the sports fan. Change the wagering aspect. Change the purse payout, pay a third of the purse to a leader at the 2 mile junction and let the fans bet on that leader at that point in the race.

How many times have you herd a gambler grumble, if they would have only stopped the race at the three quarters, I would have won. Well lets give him the chance to make his dream a reality.

Distance racing is something Canada isn't accustom to and by going about it the way I have suggested it will bring a whole new dimension to Standardbred racing in the Province, not to mention bring a group of hungrier drivers to the Woodbine racetrack, which is the entire reason there isn't flow in a race.

For example wasn't Somebeachsomewhere's Meadowlands pace battle Against Art Official, the most exciting race you have watched since Life Sign won the Jug?

Now ask yourself, what made it exciting? Was it the Beach or the way the race set up? Or was it the unknown card played by Yannic Gingras and Ronnie Pearce?

I say it was the way the race set up and the thrill of not knowing the outcome till ten feet from the wire.

This kind of adrenalin rush doesn't need to be kept in reserve for race champions only.

All the drivers need to do is drive on a bit and stop looking to the right so much, especially on the WEG circuit.

To much of the same old, same old, makes watching a hockey game or going to a slots parlor much more exciting and lets face it, that's what the race patron really needs, to keep him coming back to the grandstand. EXCITEMENT!!!.

Robert Leatham

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